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My Boss / My Self, by Vivia Chen, the careerist blog


I’ve heard bosses give this reason before. “I used to be a nice person.” At least they see it. Some don’t or won’t. So what happened? -CCE

Do you ever feel like wringing the necks of underlings who seem incapable of following your directives? Okay, so who hasn’t? But do you go one step further—like berating or humiliating them?

If you are becoming short-tempered, mean, or just nasty at work, don’t blame it on your crushing workload. According to a study described in the Harvard Business Review Blog, you might be modeling your behavior after your own boss.

It’s the child abuse syndrome: Those who were abused end up as abusers themselves.

The study, which was conducted by Christine Porath of Georgetown University and Christine Pearson of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, finds that 60 percent of employees ‘blame their bad behavior on being overloaded at work.’ But the research indicates other dyanamics in play, writes the authors in HBR Blog:

In one of our surveys, 25 percent of managers who admitted to having behaved badly said they were uncivil because their leaders—their own role models—were rude. If employees see that those who have climbed the corporate ladder tolerate or embrace uncivil behavior, they’re likely to follow suit.

Of course, it doesn’t take a management genius to figure out that having an office full of bullies and victims doesn’t make for a productive workplace. The report finds:

– 48 percent of employees intentionally decreased their work effort.

– 47 percent intentionally decreased their work time.

– 80 percent lost work time worrying about their treatment.

– 66 percent said that their performance declined.

So what can businesses do to eradicate workplace incivility? . . .